PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEPHORA
Beauty & the book
Sephora's former beauty editor names names when it comes to beauty care
Imagine all the products, tips, tricks and tools from your monthly Sephora catalogs gathered into book form and you have the basis for the new book "Sephora: The Ultimate Guide to Makeup, Skin, and Hair from the Beauty Authority."
"Sephora: The Ultimate Guide to Makeup, Skin, and Hair
from the Beauty Authority"
By Melissa Schweiger
Collins, 212 pages, hardcover, $27.95
Melissa Schweiger, a former beauty editor at Sephora who now freelances for such publications as Women's Wear Daily, Interview, Marie Claire, In Style and Sephora.com, didn't have to search far for source material. Many a product page layout seems as if it could have been lifted from a Sephora catalog, minus the prices, lest the project look more commercial than advice driven.
While other beauty books, in fairness to all cosmetic companies, go generic in recommending dark shadows to deepen, lights to highlights, Sephora doesn't have to tiptoe around, citing specific brands that have been best-sellers for the beauty retailer. The assumption is they're best-sellers because they tend to work for a lot of different women. (The cynic can attribute sales to clever marketing, but these days, anyone with Internet access knows how catty customers can be when products don't work.)
Products chosen highlight such tips for have-nots as how to fake high cheekbones, how to fake a rested look and how to fake a golden glow.
"Sephora: The Ultimate Guide ..." offers beauty tips from head to toe, including how to "Fake ... long, luscious legs" by using body bronzer. Apply it before your makeup so it has time to dry as you work on your face.
I'd say this book is for the youngest beauty junkies who are still learning how to enhance their best features, while the older among us tend to either a) give up, or b) accept our flaws good-naturedly. In fact, given the author's youngish appearance, her advice seems to stop at 30-something range. There is nothing here, for instance, to address skin care for those worried about droopy eyelids and wrinkles.
What makes this book possible is the sense of trust women have in the retailer, which entered the U.S. market in 1998, changing the cosmetics retail business overnight. Prior to Sephora, shopping for cosmetics meant approaching a salesperson to view and sample products kept under glass, or buying them untried off drugstore racks. Sephora treated its shoppers as adults, liberating them to sample all they wanted, undisturbed.
Given the plethora of new brands and products introduced each year, women depend on the retailer to highlight brands that work best in minimizing flaws and enhancing assets. And no matter how much one knows, there will always be a new makeup trick to learn.
SEPHORA SMOKY EYE LESSON
For smoky eyes at top, apply eye shadow primer onto lids and below the lower lash line to prevent color from creasing or running. Sweep a shade a little lighter than the flesh tone onto entire lid.
Choose the color you want to smoke out with. Apply your chosen color from the lash line up to the crease and smudge a little black eye shadow over it with your finger. Use a larger eye-shadow brush to blend both colors together.
Line the outer third of the upper lash line with black pencil, then go over that line with a smudge brush dipped in the eye shadow you just used to smoke out the eye. To line the lower lash line, dip the brush in the color, then hold the brush vertically against your lash line and move along your lash line using vertical strokes.
I happened to pick up the book one morning when I was extremely tired and, picking up the wrong eye-shadow brush, smeared a dark, ugly brown shadow across my lid. Not wanting to restart the process by washing it off, I tried to cover up with a layer of neutral yellowish sandy shadow.
That's when I read this tip from Cristina Bartolucci of DuWop Cosmetics, for those days when you've had three hours of sleep the night before and want to achieve a wide-awake look: "Apply a tiny bit of gold shadow at the inner corners of your eye and then wash it over your lids."
Knowing that would have been helpful before I started.